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PM must revisit COAG bilateral agreements says Qld Deputy Premier

Queensland’s Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney issued a challenge to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to prove he stands for something, during an address to a CEDA audience in Brisbane.

Queensland's Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney issued a challenge to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to prove he stands for something, during an address to a CEDA audience in Brisbane.

During the prime ministership of Julia Gillard, there was an agreement within COAG to end the duplication of state and federal approvals for developments but a policy was not implemented.

"This is my challenge for Mr Rudd today, revisit the bilateral agreements of COAG Prime Minister and set it in train immediately," he said.

"It is important for Queensland, it is critically important for the Queensland economy, and it's important for Australia's future."

Speaking at CEDA's annual Queensland Economic Development Forum, Mr Seeney also discussed challenges facing the tourism industry and development of Brisbane's heritage precinct and possibilities about a new casino.

"Those heritage values that are there have to be understood and respected. Now whether or not a casino ends up being part of that development is a decision that has not yet been made," he said.

Using the Melbourne GPO and Adelaide Treasury building as examples, Tourism Australia Managing Director, Andrew McEvoy noted the importance of refurbishing heritage buildings and the associated economic benefits.

"Tourism and development is not the enemy of heritage… (when) done well and done tastefully I think it brings some economic value to those building which otherwise might end up on purse strings of government just to maintain for the sake of them," he said.

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Echo Entertainment Group, John Redmond also addressed the CEDA forum and discussed proposals for the new precinct.

On the topic of the proposed development, called Project Icon, Mr Redmond also noted it is important to keep the integrity of heritage buildings in the five hectare site.

"What is now the Treasury Casino, never should have been a casino," he said.

"The heritage buildings that you see on this site (the proposed George Street site) will be maintained as they are."

Mr Redmond also said the new destination precinct would help drive airport visitation and increase wider tourism in Queensland.

His comments come after the Brisbane Airport Corporation's projections that by 2029, the airport will service 45 million passengers per year and employ 50,000 people on site.

Brisbane Airport Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Julieanne Alroe said the airport must grow and develop infrastructure to meet the city's future demand.

"Future investment will include a new parallel runway, additional taxi ways and aprons, expanded terminals, more self-service facilities and digital innovation, new access to roads and ongoing utilities," she said.

The new parallel runway is on track and due for completion in 2020, Ms Alroe said.

"Brisbane Airport will finish this project on time and we will do it in a way that will not destroy our shareholder value or stop other needed investment in Brisbane Airport," she said.

The forum heard, Brisbane is not the only Queensland airport experiencing growth, so are those in regional centres.

GasFields Commission Queensland Chair, John Cotter said onshore gas developments are increasing demand for new airport terminals and more flights.

"The new $100 million Toowoomba airport industrial park developed by … the Wagner family would not likely have gotten off the ground had it not been for CSG development in the nearby Surat Basin," he said.

Mr Cotter also told the CEDA forum how the State manages development of both agriculture and the onshore gas industry will be crucial for its economic future.

"There has been progress in some areas but there is still a long way to go in improving coexistence and leveraging the cross sector opportunities between agriculture and the resources sector," he said.

The Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney also thinks the idea of co-existence and cross sector development is important for Queensland's economic future.

"Concept of co-existence is achievable, it is achievable but it is vital for our continued growth in both of our sectors of the economy," he said.

Chief Economist and Director of Strategy, RBS Morgan, Michael Knox said agriculture and resources remain dominant sectors in the Queensland economy but growth has slowed down.

"Mining is only the second fastest growth sector. It's added 32,000 full time jobs, but that's almost doubled the size of the mining sector in a five year period," he said.

Mr Knox also said there has been a shift in the Queensland economy in recent years, especially in the retail sector.

"What we see is a structural change in the Queensland economy, we see the impact of online retailing as taking jobs away from bricks and mortar," he said.

The Queensland Economic Development Forum was held in Brisbane in July 2013. An initiative of CEDA, working with major sponsors Herbert Geer and University of Queensland Business School the QEDF brought together practitioners, policy makers and industry to analyse the factors of success for Queensland economic development.